FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONSTELLATION: Buster Cleveland, John Evans, Al Hansen, Ray Johnson, May WIlson.
April 20 - May 27, 2006.
PAVEL ZOUBOK GALLERY is pleased to announce the opening of CONSTELLATION: Buster Cleveland, John Evans, Al Hansen, Ray Johnson, May WIlson. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, April 20, from 6-8pm, or during the run of the exhibition, which continues through May 27. The gallery is located at: 533 West 23rd Street (between 10th & 11th Avenues) Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-6pm.
CONSTELLATION features the work of five artists whose personal and professional histories form a network of friendship and artistic exchange that spanned some four decades. While the artists in this particular constellation certainly had direct ties to one another, it is important to remember that they are part of a much larger group of artists, writers and performers whose aesthetics encompass aspects of Pop, Fluxus, Performance and Mail Art. To scratch the surface of this world is to discover an alternative tradition whose position in the art world is that of the insider/outsider. What emerges from their coming together is a sensibility firmly rooted in the lessons of Dada and Surrealism, richly layered in material and meaning. Like their forebears Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, they drew from every aspect of their lives to create singular works of art: from the daily collages of John Evans (a practice that continued for nearly forty years), to May Wilson’s monochromatic assemblages of found objects and seminal “Ridiculous Portraits”, Buster Cleveland’s glittering, playfully irreverent commentaries on the art world, Al Hansen’s rhythmic word operas (made from fragments of Hershey wrappers) or his obsessive variations on the Venus figure (rendered in everything from cigarette butts to burnt matches and plastic toys), to the infinitely complex and decidedly poetic collages and mail art of Ray Johnson (a career that spawned an international network of artists and friends).
After over a decade of intense engagement with contemporary and modern collage, these five artists stand out in my mind as figures whose works and identities seem to constantly intersect. The various circles of artists, curators, collectors and critics whom I have come to know over the years all seem to have had ties to one or more of them. Although officially retired from his daily collages, John Evans remains an active part of the international Mail Art community and an important figure in the field of collage. Sadly, the art world lost May Wilson in 1985, and both Ray Johnson and Al Hansen in 1995, events made all the more poignant by the fact that the latter two were born in the same year. The death of Buster Cleveland three years later left yet another void in the landscape.
In bringing these five artists together, a new generation of viewers will find inspiration in their unique contribution to the history of art and that they will discover a rich terrain that is just starting to emerge before an ever-expanding art world. In recent years the careers of Ray Johnson, Al Hansen and John Evans have begun to receive greater critical attention, with major exhibitions and publications on their work. Needless to say, there is a long way to go. But as subsequent generations increasingly embrace the aesthetic and practice of collage (witness this year’s Whitney Biennial), it seems inevitable to that this process of discovery and revision will continue.
For additional information and images please contact Maggie Seidel at (212) 675 7490 or email@example.com